Two-point-one billion. According to the World Health Organization, 2.1 billion people worldwide lack access to clean water that they need for drinking, cooking and bathing.
Yet every day I dive into an eight lane, 40-yard pool filled with water to which chemicals are added to make it safe for us to swim in. During the course of a practice, I will likely refill my water bottle twice with cold, clean water to keep myself stay hydrated. And at the end of practice, I shower with hot, clean water. For my teammates and I, water is abundant and free.
CV swimmers and divers also have a lot of other things that we need, as well as a lot of things that are just really nice to have — things that teenagers across the globe, and even in Pennsylvania, would be grateful to have. We live in a school district where our administration supports athletics. We have one of the best natatoriums in the state that is well maintained by the facilities staff. Our coaches and athletic trainers are dedicated to our well-being, improvement and success. Our parent Booster Club ensures that everything runs smoothly out of the water, from always having snacks ready to creating team apparel and everything in between.
When I think about how different my life is compared to those 2.1 billion, I am so grateful to not only be able to participate in a high school sport, but to do it in an environment that is supportive, caring and inspiring.
I love competitive swimming and will continue my athletic career in college, but I know it’s important to keep it in perspective and have an attitude of gratitude every day.